THE PHENOMENAL TRIUMPH OF TRUMP: LESSONS FOR THE WORLD
Last Tuesday, Donald Trump defied most political pundits, most pollsters and stunned the World with a largely unpredicted landslide victory over Hilary Clinton and the Democratic Party . Many reasons are being adduced for this phenomenon, none of which can successfully explain why a man who came from outside, never gone through an election before, never held a public or political office of any kind and who broke all the rules of political competition and engagement, became the President of the World's largest democracy and economy at the first shot. I believe that the best we can make from this historic outcome at this time is to make some common-sense deductions and learn a few lessons.
1. BYE TO POLITICAL CORRECTNESS
Mr Trump seemed to have rewritten the rules for political competition. Standard wisdom all these years suggested that there were several things one must not say, several positions one must not take openly if one wanted to win elections. Mr Trump said all things, printable and unprintable, was prepared to fight his opponents and party leaders alike, abused any one who stood on his way, refused to respect data that did not favor him, offered no apologies, demystified the impact of the media and still rode to astounding victory.
The lesson is that one needs to dig deep to understand the anger and frustrations of the majority and then champion their views, even if they run counter to what the society regards as normal. Often, politicians are afraid to offend the so called political heavy weights or powers that be and are afraid to identify with issues that are regarded as offensive or divisive. For example, in Nigeria, many Politicians from the South East have either been dismissive of or afraid to even identify with the cry for Justice and self- determination of the Igbo Youth. Same with our Northern Politicians who are mortally afraid to condemn or even speak about the menace of the militant Fulani-Herdsmen though their people are victims as well. Trump was not afraid to confront anybody and fought and clawed his way from the primaries to the General elections. Time for the World to set itself free and think and speak the unthinkable. Linear logic now stands on its head and so bye bye to political correctness .
2. UNRAVELLING OF GLOBALIZATION AND RETURN TO NATIONAL PROTECTIONISM
Since after the Second World War and the birth of the United Nations( UN ), the World has moved progressively towards globalization and by the Close of the 20th Century, the World had become a global village. With it came the breaking down of barriers- both for human movement, interaction and for trade. Regional groupings like the European Union( EU), the North African Free trade Agreement ( NAFTA), South Asian Association for Regional Coperation( SAARC), Euro-Asian Economic community ( EAEC), ASEAN Free Trade Area Agreement( AFTA) African Union( AU), Arab League( AL), Pacific Island Forum( PIF) and sub-regional Trade groupings like the Economic commission of West African States( ECOWAS), East African Community( EAC)South African Development community ( SADC), Common Market for Eastern and South Africa( COMESA),etc, became the 'federating' units of a global economy.
But there has recently been a move to return to National sovereignty, National borders and National protectionism. The movement started in Europe and after years of pushing, the British( one of the supposed leaders of a global World), surprised the World by opting out of the EU, and effectively pushing for the demise of the European Union. In tow, several right wing extremist parties in France, Germany and else where are pushing for the Brexit option.
Donald Trump rode to victory on a popular plan to cancel NAFTA, reintroduce and raise tariffs, and to limit trade, especially trade with China. The Threat to build walls on the Mexican Border and walls on the Atlantic Shores indicate a Nation( another supposed leader of a global world) repudiating globalization and reintroducing National protectionism. The implications of this emerging trend must be fully considered by the World. One thing is certain, that there will be a decline in global trade and with it further destabilization of a struggling global economy. America, and UK will be the first victims of this looming economic crisis that may be worse than what the World saw in 2008/2009
3. EMERGING VACANCY FOR NEW WORLD LEADER
Leadership will always involve Sacrifice, self denial and altruism. When a leader becomes unwilling to make sacrifices and becomes self-fixated and self-indulging, then such a leader is on his way to losing the right to lead. America has become the World leader, not only by the strength of its Military, nor by the size of its economy, but more so by its willingness to make sacrifices for the World. When a President who plans to stop supporting the defence of NATO Countries, who plans to deport immigrants, stop new immigrants, reduce aid and who wants to reassert white-supremacy, rides to victory overwhelmingly as Donald Trump seems to have done, then it is clear that the days of American moral leadership are counted. The World may soon be searching for a new leader, except if our fears and deductions fail to concretize.
4 THE BUSINESS MEN ARE COMING
Very many successful business men all over the World but especially in Africa have wished they had the opportunity to offer political leadership. Many have retreated from pursuing this type of ambition because they have felt that the political space was constricted by professional politicians who always frowned at outsiders venturing to occupy high political offices. Often you hear such things as" Do you think Politics is the same thing as Business?" or as they told the late Chief M.K.O Abiola" the Presidency is not for sale!"
With the phenomenal success of Billionaire Donald Trump at the first shot for the biggest political office in the World, I foresee many business moguls launching into political contests soon. Would that be a good thing? Well the World is watching to see how things work out with Mr Trump. He may well surprise with his unpredictability!
Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR